More hearsay evidence presented

first_imgControversial Lindo Creek CoI…as victim’s daughter collapses during hearing, forcing adjournmentOn Thursday, Courtney Wong, brother of Lindo Creek Massacre victim Clifton Wong, took to the stand and told the Commission of Inquiry it was related to him by Leonard Arokium, owner of the mining camp at which the massacre had occurred, that then Police Commissioner Henry Greene, accompanied by a former Prime Minister and the then Home Affairs Minister, had visited the Arokium home and attempted to convince its occupants that the eight employees were murderedCourtney Wong during his Rondell “Fine Man” Rawlins and his gang, who subsequently burnt their remains.Wong added that Arokium said he told them he “doesn’t believe in that”, and had rejected the suggestion.Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp which was being operated by Leonard Arokium.Courtney Wong alleges that he was the mechanic responsible for maintaining all the Arokium mining equipment, and that he was supposed to be at Lindo Creek, but because of his workload, his younger brother was sent.He explained that he would have been to Lindo Creek approximately 5 times prior to the incident, and on the last occasion there, he had helped to move the ArokiumLindo Creek victimsmining camp from the bottom of a hill to a place further up.The CoI also heard that Courtney Wong was contacted in June 21, informed of his brother’s death, and immediately called his brothers and sisters overseas and informed them of Clifton’s death.“Mr. Arokium called me and tell me that something serious happened. That they shoot, kill and bun up all the bodies. I know how he does speak fast, and I asked what he said, and he say, ‘Man, them kill all them bai, man; them kill all them bai!’“I left and went to his son’s residence, where I get more knowledge of what transpired, and he said, ‘Yes, all them guys dead,” Courtney Wong related.Courtney Wong said he was subsequently asked to lead a team of investigators to the Lindo Creek Mining Camp the following day.He recounted that the team comprised senior Police officers, Guyana Defence Force ranks, and Government Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh with his team. He added that the left Georgetown at around 06:00hrs, and arrived at Lindo Creek sometime in the late afternoon hours.Courtney Wong said he thought it strange that soldiers’ presence had dominated the area leading to the Lindo Creek Trail area.He further explained that that trail was physically challenging, and had resulted in him suggesting to Dr. Singh that he rest at the abandoned camp while the others take the 45-minute trek to the camp.He said all of the senior officers also remained at the abandoned camp, and the junior members of the teams went up to the camp.Wong said that when they arrived on scene, they first entered through the kitchen, which was in disarray. He added that they observed no hammocks, tarpaulin or clothes in the sleeping area, giving the impression that the camp was deserted.“We walked one side of the camp, that is where we discovered a heap with some bones… It (the heap of bones) was at the tail, the outside of the sleeping area…from observation they were packed (one on the other). When we discovered the remains, from some section of the Police, (we were) asked us to form a line, and that was the purpose — to comb the area,” he said.The man explained that following their discovery, they combed the area for spent shells and initially found none, but as they were bagging the remains, a particular Police officer found two spent shells in separate locations. Additionally, Wong said they also found pieces of passports, ID cards and birth certificates.“In sorting out the remains, we realised that we had to take them, they (law enforcement officials) had to remove them from there; so we went to the kitchen and we took off the tarpaulin from the kitchen and fold the tarpaulin in half, and we placed it next to the heap and we started to take out all the big bones that the fire could not have burned to ash,” Courtney recalled.“There were skulls that was totally burnt to the extent where a next few minutes they would start crumbing, that’s where we found a skull with a hole. Not too far from the scene, we found two hammers, the first hammer we found could not have fit (in the hole) but the other hammer fit right inside. We come to the point that we say this person was kill by the hammer,” the man added.The man explained that because of the time, they had to wrap up as fast as possible. Additionally, he said that they did not find any precious metal among the remains. It was during his testimony that Alicia Wong, eldest daughter of victim Clifton, lost consciousness and had to immediately be rushed to the hospital. Based on that Commissioner, Donald Trotman adjourned Wong’s testimony until next Thursday. This publication would also like to issue an apology for an article published in the Wednesday edition under the headline “Top Cop denies Police involvement in killings…maintains men were executed by ‘Fine Man’ gang.” The article stated that Commissioner Seelall Persaud had explicitly placed blame on the Fine Man gang; rather, the Top Cop testified that he was satisfied with the findings of the investigations, and subsequent recommendation by the DPP to close the file.last_img

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